This is probably the most important article I post this week. What to do with two free transfers and a shit load of budget tied up in forwards and defenders, while the midfield appears a wee bit thin. I’ve been going over various scenarios since setting my GW18 starting XI. Unfortunately, I didn’t look much past selling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Harry Kane. Now off the back of 28 points, is now the time to sell or hold?
Using Fantasy Football Fix I continue to play close attention to the moves and ownership of players by the top 1000 mangers in the FPL game. As mentioned on Episode 20 of the Pitch & Pint Podcast, this above all other statistics I use as a measuring stick when considering future transfers. Ahead of game week 19, I own nine of the 15 players in the top 1000, providing me a solid foundation to build on. The big difference are in the midfield, as I am still without the likes of Eden Hazard and Richarlison, both players I am measuring up for a spell in my starting XI.
In order to get there I need to free up approximately £18 million and could come at the cost of Aubameyang. One line of thinking, if I don’t plan on captaining Aubs, why own him, especially if Kane is going to grab the armband over the next eight out of nine game weeks. With Hazard (£11.0) on the top of the shopping list, Richarlison (£7.0) is just under him. The addition of those two midfielders would provide an injection (hopefully) of points into a midfield that has averaged just 252 points on the season, an average of 3.82 PPG.
Moving Aubameyang and potentially Callum Wilson create two voids up top that need to be filled. Raul Jimenez (£6.2) is a player I should have jumped on weeks ago, but just couldn’t bring myself to come off Wilson who had been quite consistent until his injury. Since GW16, he hasn’t been the same player and Bournemouth time appears to be up as they have a very tough run of games through 29. Jimenez for Wilson is a straight swap that nets me that £0.4 ITB. Unfortunately the master plan that includes Hazard and Richarlison, I am left £0.3 short, if I were to include Danny Ings (£5.6) as my third forward.
Is it time to break up the premium defense I have built from the start of the season? Double Liverpool and City have been very lucrative, but City have struggled defensively, posting a single CS in the last 8, conceding 11 goals over that span. If we look at FPL managers moving Alonso in droves due to a lack of attacking returns, Laporte has posted much better attacking stats, yet managers are moving off the City defender, many straight to Lucas Digne. Alonso owners are going to Virgil van Dijk or following the Laporte owners lead.
Looking at City’s fixtures its away games to Leicester City and Southampton before Liverpool, a 0-0 draw back in game week 8. This followed by a visit from Wolves and away fixtures at Huddersfield and Newcastle. Not an overly difficult run of fixtures. After the 3-1 loss to Palace, you know damn well Pep won’t let Leicester get the best of his Sky Blues and rest assured they come and make this game week 19 fixture a statement game. With KDB and Aguero back in the starting XI, the lineup receives more attacking potential going forward, as KDB make players around him better.
Having said that, in order to bring in players on my list, I need to free up £1.0 million, which leaves me with one of two possibilities, both City options. I could move Ederson (£5.6) to Ben Foster (£4.5), as the Watford keeper has been the best looking budget option over the last few weeks. However, a visit from Chelsea isn’t keeping me warm at night. The other option, Laporte being downgraded to Jonny (£4.3) gives me £1.4 ITB, even to cover the shortfall needed for Richarlison.
After game week 21 a very strong case could be made to triple up on Liverpool. While the statistics support a big drop off in clean sheets as I highlighted in my article, Festive Period Clean Sheets after the festive period, it could be risky bring in Dejan Lovren (£4.9) but I could also reap big rewards if Liverpool continue their sparkling defensive form. Adding Lovren instead of Jonny leaves me with £0.8 ITB, which isn’t to upgrade Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
I continue to eye Gerard Deulofeu (£5.4), not because I am a Watford supporter but because of his role, out of position as a forward and his recent stats; 23 penalty touches, 4 attempts on goal, all inside the box with 2 big chances taken and 2 goals. A strong case could also be made for Robert Snodgrass at the same price with similar returns. Going Lovren leaves me short and I must retain Højbjerg. In the off chance I start a full complement of midfielders, my confidence wouldn’t be as high with him, compared to Deulofeu.
So lots to consider over the next four game weeks. I don’t intend on taking any hits to bring in this group of players. Option B (Jonny & Deulofeu) offer a bit more flexibility and potential returns with a fifth midfielder, if the decision is made to run out a 5-man midfield. It’s also possible we see a shift in the proverbial “template” come January, which means some of these transfers could be short lived through the festive period.
How about some game week 19 options, which could be short lived, blank and there is game week 20 beginning Saturday. A Boxing Day gift from me, to the FPL community.
Transfer options for GW18 did quite well. Goalkeeper Martin Dubravaka picked up a CS and 6 points. Defender, Sean Morrison and Cardiff City got their ass handed to them, 5-1 against United. Midfield selection, Gerard Deulofeu picked up a goal, CS and 1 bonus for a total of 9 points. Forward, Salomon Rondon returned no attacking points.
Vincente Guaita (£4.2/TSB 0.3%)
Clean sheet against Leicester and a good game against City last week with 3 saves made. Two yellow cards in two games for time wasting, but I like Palace this weekend, home to Cardiff City to post a clean sheet.
Dejan Lovren (£4.9/TSB 2.3%)
The Reds have posted 11 clean sheets on the season, conceding just 7 goals on the season. With injuries in the center back position, Lovren makes a strong case for inclusion, coming off a CS against Wolves.
Stuart Armstrong (£5.1/TSB 0.8%)
I couldn’t actually bring myself to say Nathan Redmond. While Armstong’s match stats from the last 4 games aren’t as good as Redmond, he turned heads in GW13 and GW14 with 3 goals. West Ham a bit lacking in the defense department, as witnessed by Watford last weekend.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£5.3/TSB 0.8%)
With Cenk Tosun out of favor with Marco Silva, DCL has played 90 minutes in the last two weeks, posting a goal and assist. Should of had a second last week that was disallowed for an alleged push in the back. Everton visit a leaky Burnley, I like DCL to keep the attacking returns coming this week. Service from all over the pitch.